London estate agents are linking a R315 million house to Nelson Mandela – because of a ‘kraal’

Business Insider SA
The now apparently Nelson-Mandela-linked pool hous
The summer house based on "on a traditional South African Royal Kraal", but with a farmhouse roof – and now a Nelson Mandela name drop. (Property listing photo via
  • London estate agents are punting a house with an asking price of R315 million by name-dropping Nelson Mandela.
  • The connection is a summer house apparently based on "a traditional South African Royal Kraal" – though it is hard to tell by looking at it.
  • "Kraals in South Africa are most famously associated with the late President Nelson Mandela", the agents tell us.
  • The London "kraal" is being linked to a retreat built for Mandela, even though the one in London was built more than three decades too early.
  • For more stories go to

For £15 million (around R315 million) you can now buy an 8-bedroom house in Hampstead, London, and land yourself an "exceptional residence" a with tennis court, swimming pool – and a touch of Nelson Mandela.

The home comes with a back-garden summer house built "to resemble Mandela's Shambala game reserve", the Daily Mail reported this week.

That is both temporally impossible, and not quite what the estate agents claim.

The Nelson Mandela villa on the Shambala reserve, now open to the public, was built for Mandela after he left office in the late 1990s. The Hampstead pool house was commissioned some thirty years earlier, in the 1970s.

Instead of claiming that the older building was based on the newer one, the property's listing agents made a more subtle reference, saying that the London version was built "in a style inspired by a South African Royal Kraal, recalling the late President Nelson Mandela’s beloved Shambala retreat in Limpopo".

And also that kraals are, in a way, inherently associated with Mandela.

"Kraals in South Africa are most famously associated with the late President Nelson Mandela, who was born into the Thembu Royal family in Mvezo; Mandela’s Shambala retreat, with its oval Kraals and thatched bungalows, is now an international centre for Reconciliation and Peace and a Game Reserve for the preservation of wildlife," reads a publicity pitch for the home.

The extent to which the pool or summer house actually resembles a kraal is highly debatable.

The building is on an additional plot of land that gives the overall property a T-shape, and from the air it has no discernible South African flavour.

Pool house location
(Listing photo via

That may be, in part, because its architect, South African expat Ted Levy, lost his nerve on its roof, as the estate agents tell it. Though he had planned a "traditional vaulted Kraal roof", that was never installed as "Levy feared local planners would reject it – so a flat roof with dramatic large timber ceiling beams were installed instead, recalling a South African farmstead".

Like the aerial view, the part-farmstead building's approach does not call to mind a kraal, or Mandela, to South African eyes.

Pool house outside
(Listing photo via

But inside, say those now trying to sell it, you will find "a separate lounge/snug room, a kitchen and changing rooms and shower facilities for the outside swimming pool located in an interconnecting space which has curved walls and an oval shaped floorplan echoing Kraal design".

The main house also features a reception hall and, apparently, "vast potential".

You can watch drone footage of the house here:

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